Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?
A new Consumer Reports investigation examines 10 unknown dangers associated with vitamins, herbs and supplements.
August 2nd, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Hidden dangers in vitamins, supplements?

Vitamins and supplements could do more harm than good in some cases, according to a new report in Consumer Reports.

The report, in Consumer Reports' September issue, investigates 10 unknown dangers associated with taking vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements. More than half of all Americans take supplements, and the supplement industry has grown to a $27 billion industry.

But supplements aren't necessarily risk-free, according to Dr. Jose Mosquera, medical adviser for Consumer Reports. While patients may believe supplements are safe because they are natural, he says not all supplements are truly all-natural.

Between 2007 and mid-April 2012, the Food and Drug Administration received more than 6,300 reports of serious adverse events linked to dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbs, according to Consumer Reports. The reports include 115 deaths and more than 2,100 hospitalizations.

Supplements should only be taken when there is a true deficiency, Mosquera says, and people should talk to their doctors before starting a supplement.

“Supplements and vitamins should never be a substitute for a healthy lifestyle with a nutritional plan,” he says. He adds that it’s better to get vitamins from healthy eating than from taking supplements.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), an association representing dietary supplement manufacturers, counters, “There is a strong body of scientific evidence that supports the benefits of dietary supplements and these products have a very strong profile for safety.”

However, Consumer Reports says some supposedly natural products are laced with the same active ingredients in prescription drugs, and people often experience unwanted side effects while taking the supplements.

The supplements for body building, enhancing sexual performance, and losing weight are the most likely to be laced, says Mosquera. He advises, “Protect yourself by trying to avoid these types of supplements, and have a conversation with your doctor about lifestyle changes.”

The high doses of vitamins and minerals in some supplements present another danger. People that take more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of a nutrient could have adverse reactions.

Existing laws make it difficult for the FDA to regulate problematic supplements, according to the report. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, most manufacturers don’t need FDA approval to sell dietary supplements, and the FDA must prove a supplement is unsafe before taking it off the market.

The report also cautions that the FDA doesn’t require supplements to have warning labels unless they contain iron. For example, some products with St. John’s Wort don’t warn that it is known to reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills and blood thinners.

No supplement has been shown to cure a major disease, says the report. New evidence shows that even Omega-3 pills, widely believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, may not be as effective as once thought.

More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements each year, the Council for Responsible Nutrition notes.

"Consumers need to be savvy and buy from companies with strong brand reputations or look for those that have third party certification on their labels," the council says. "It is also important for consumers to talk to their health care professionals and understand that dietary supplements are intended to supplement a healthy diet and do not serve as substitutes for drugs."

soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Video Marketing Firms

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you need to publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not discuss such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!


    May 9, 2021 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Entertainment System Orange County

    I blog often and I truly thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.


    May 9, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Social Media Marketing Consultants Near Me


    May 9, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Roof Orange County


    May 9, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Digital Marketing Events Near Me


    May 9, 2021 at 22:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Content Marketing Pictures


    May 10, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Digital Marketing Quotes

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.


    May 10, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Social Media Marketing Specialist


    May 10, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Social Media Marketing Agencies Near Me


    May 10, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Local Marketing Firms


    May 10, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Internet Marketing California

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody else having the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 10, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Internet Marketing California

    Very good post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 10, 2021 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Video Marketing Companies Near Me

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you post…


    May 11, 2021 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Google Marketing Service


    May 11, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Companies


    May 11, 2021 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Internet Marketing Companies Irvine


    May 11, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Internet Marketing Orange County

    Excellent article. I will be facing some of these issues as well..


    May 11, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Local Marketing Jobs


    May 11, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Digital Marketing Masters

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I really believed you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    May 11, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Seo Marketing Firm

    I was excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new things on your site.


    May 11, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Local Marketing Agencies

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to send this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 11, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Social Media Marketing Agency Anaheim


    May 11, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Internet Marketing Jobs Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Video Marketing Programs

    Saved as a favorite, I like your website!


    May 11, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Social Media Marketing Agencies

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don't discuss such topics. To the next! Many thanks!!


    May 11, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to how long does cbd oil ingested take to work


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.